October 1, 2020
People who earned a bachelor’s degree at Florida community colleges were making about $10,000 more annually than their peers who received associate degrees in similar fields four quarters after graduating, according to a new analysis from New America, a left-leaning think tank.
The share of bachelor’s degree recipients who were Black, White, Asian-American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander closely mirrored that of Florida’s population, though Latinx students were underrepresented. They were also more likely to be older than their peers at state universities.
The analysis sheds light on the labor market outcomes other states can expect from allowing community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees.
More than 40,000 students were working on bachelor’s degrees at community colleges in Florida in the 2016-17 academic year, surpassing undergraduate enrollment at the state’s flagship, according to the report. The state bills these programs as a way to address education deserts and labor shortages.
Nearly two dozen other states also allow at least one of their community colleges to award bachelor’s degrees, though they are typically more workforce-oriented than those offered at four-year schools.